Age at Drinking Onset and Alcohol Dependence: Age at Onset, Duration, and Severity

Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.73). 08/2006; 160(7):739-46. DOI: 10.1001/archpedi.160.7.739
Source: PubMed


To examine whether starting to drink at an early age is associated with developing alcohol dependence at a younger age and chronic relapsing dependence, controlling for respondent demographics, smoking and illicit drug use, childhood antisocial behavior and depression, and family alcoholism history.
Cross-sectional survey.
Nationwide face-to-face survey with a multistage probability sample.
A total of 43,093 adults were surveyed in 2001-2002.
Based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, criteria, lifetime alcohol dependence, dependence within 10 years of starting drinking, multiple episodes, an alcohol dependence episode in the past year, episodes exceeding 1 year, and meeting 6 or 7 dependence criteria.
Relative to respondents who began drinking at 21 years or older, those who began drinking before age 14 years were more likely to experience alcohol dependence ever and within 10 years of first drinking (adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals [CIs], 1.78 [1.51-2.11] and 1.69 [1.38-2.07], respectively). They also more often experienced past-year dependence and multiple dependence episodes (adjusted odds ratios, 1.93 [95% CI, 1.40-2.64] and 3.09 [95% CI, 2.19-4.35], respectively). Among alcohol-dependent persons, the odds were 2.62 (95% CI, 1.79-3.84) for having at least 1 episode exceeding 1 year and 2.89 (95% CI, 1.97-4.23) for meeting 6 or 7 dependence diagnostic criteria.
There is a need to screen and counsel adolescents about alcohol use and to implement policies and programs that delay alcohol consumption.

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Available from: Michael R Winter, Mar 12, 2014
    • "Our understanding of the complexity of the association between alcohol use and depression remains limited [17] [21] [22], but there is reason to believe that early onset of alcohol use, and high levels of alcohol use is associated with later poor mental health, as well as functional, economic and social problems [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31]. However, variability in alcohol use trajectories may be differentially associated with symptoms of depression. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction and aims: Adolescence is a period in which many have an onset of alcohol use, but there is much heterogeneity in the individual development of alcohol use. Further, there is a general increase in depressive symptoms from early to late adolescence, but less is known about how different alcohol habit trajectories are associated with symptoms of depression. The aims of the present study were: to identify trajectories of alcohol consumption and drinking to intoxication during adolescence (age 13-18 years); and examine to what extent the different trajectories of alcohol use were associated with symptoms of depression over the same age span, from early to late adolescence. Methods: Data from the Norwegian Longitudinal Health Behaviour Study were employed. Latent class growth analyses were employed to identify different trajectories of both alcohol consumption and drinking to intoxication. The resulting trajectories for each participant were used to estimate the gender-adjusted association between different development of alcohol use and symptoms of depression. Results: Four trajectories of both alcohol consumption and drinking to intoxication were identified. The trajectories with an early onset of alcohol consumption or drinking to intoxication were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms compared with late onset or stable low use trajectories. Conclusions: The findings from the present study suggest that early onset developmental trajectories of alcohol use are associated with depression. Therefore, broad assessment and interventions targeting both alcohol and depression may be indicated among early onset alcohol users, especially if they report increasing levels of consumption. [Skogen JC, Knudsen AK, Hysing M, Wold B, Sivertsen B. Trajectories of alcohol use and association with symptoms of depression from early to late adolescence: The Norwegian Longitudinal Health Behaviour Study. Drug Alcohol Rev 2015].
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Drug and Alcohol Review
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    • "Research also suggests that individuals exposed to risk factors at earlier ages are more likely to develop later problems and difficulties (Grant and Dawson 1997; Hingson et al. 2006; Fergusson and Horwood 1997). For example, in a study using data from three Australasian cohorts, Horwood et al (2010) showed that earlier use of cannabis (prior to age 15) was associated with lower rates of high school completion, university enrolment and degree attainment. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined predictors of positive developmental outcomes, including: life satisfaction; optimism; educational achievement; civic engagement; and positive peer influence; in a sample of young people comprised of a study group (n = 593) facing significant challenges and a comparison group (n = 778) who were progressing more normatively. The study modelled the demographic, risk, and resource predictors of positive outcomes across both groups, and compared the fit of the model across groups using integrative data analysis techniques. Results suggested that positive outcomes were predicted by: resilience; ethnicity; peer problems; depression age; gender; relationship status; and parental monitoring. Although the study group faced significantly (p < .0001) greater levels of adversity than the comparison group, the fitted model was shown to be equivalent across groups, suggesting that general models of positive developmental outcomes can be applied to vulnerable youth. The model also suggests that the pathways to positive developmental outcomes are complex being influenced by a diverse range of factors and that of these factors, resilience appears to be the most important.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Child Indicators Research
    • "Because they revisited their risky behavioral tendencies after a period of stability, this subgroup warrants further investigation. First, their discontinued drinking is contrary to the risk associated with early drinking onset and the typical pattern of escalation observed throughout adolescence and into college (Baer et al., 1995; Gruber et al., 1996; Hingson et al., 2006). It is possible that these individuals are more vulnerable to the college drinking context. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Previous work examining college drinking tendencies has identified a disproportionately small (20%), but uniquely high-risk group of students who experience nearly 50% of the reported alcohol-related consequences (i.e., the multiple repeated consequences, or MRC, group). With the goal of reducing drinking-related consequences later in college, the current study sought to identify potential MRC group members in their first semester by examining: 1) early-risk subgroups based on analysis of early-risk screening constructs (e.g., age of drinking onset, middle school alcohol exposure, high school drinking and consequences); and 2) their association with MRC criteria early in the first semester of college. Methods: A random sample of 2021 first year college student drinkers (56% female) completed a web-based drinking survey in their first semester on campus. Results: Latent class analysis (LCA) revealed four early-risk subgroups: 1) an Early Onset Risk group who endorsed early age of drinking onset and engaged in heavy middle and high school drinking (10%); 2) a Late Onset Risk group who engaged in weekend drinking and drunkenness and experienced six or more unique consequences as seniors in high school (32%); 3) an Early Onset Limited Risk group who only endorsed early age of onset and middle school drinking (3%); and 4) a Minimal Risk group who did not engage in any early risk behaviors (55%). Members of both the Early and Late Onset Risk groups had significantly higher odds of MRC membership in their first semester of college (9.85 and 6.79 greater, respectively). Conclusions: Results suggest age of onset, middle and high school drinking and drunkenness, and frequency of unique consequences could be particularly useful in brief screening tools. Further, findings support early screening and prevention efforts for MRC membership prior to college matriculation. Keywords: early screening; high-risk college drinking; MRC group; alcohol-related consequences
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